emmaus-road

Luke 24:13-35 (Sermon 3rd Sunday of Easter A)

According to the “experts” in many films, TV programs and books, the best hiding place is often right in plain view. Some claim secret symbols from Free Masons and other conspirators are embedded into art and architecture. Such themes are found in the National Treasure films with Nicolas Cage as Ben Gates or in the Indiana Jones films. Through the centuries, people have said there are secret codes in the Bible, some claiming special alpha numeric codes in the Old Testament Hebrew texts. Are there secret codes in the Bible? I do not know.

I do know and believe that there is information in the Bible that is plain to see, but which most people fail to see. The Bible is a book of books, containing 66 individual books. Although written by a variety of people on different continents across more than 1800 years, the Bible is united by one over-arching story. That grand story is about Creation – Fall – Redemption and Consummation.

The central character in this story is God, known as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. As the main actor in the drama, the attention is on the Son of God who is known at times as the Messiah or Christ. Everything in Scripture points to Christ. When Luke wrote his Gospel account of Christ, his primary purpose in writing was to provide confirmation of everything being taught about Christ. So Luke includes this story of the appearance of Jesus to two disciples on the road from Jerusalem to Emmaus. Luke wants his readers to see that Christ is at the center of Scripture.

All of Scripture is about Christ

As these 2 disciples are walking to Emmaus, they are joined by the resurrected Jesus. He asks them what they are talking about. They are amazed that Jesus does not know the big news. Apparently, almost everybody in Jerusalem know about Jesus’ his life, ministry, arrest and crucifixion. Now there is talk that Jesus is alive. They themselves are finding it hard to believe that Jesus is alive. They thought he’d be a geo-political Messiah.

As far as they understood the prophecies about Messiah, he could not possibly suffer and die. Messiah was to be victorious over the enemies of God and of God’s people. So if Jesus suffered and died, he obviously was not the Messiah.

But Jesus gently rebukes them for lacking the mental ability (foolish) and the psychological ability (slow of heart) to understand all that the prophets had to say about Messiah. They only wanted to focus on the parts where Jesus defeats the enemies of God and the enemies of God’s people. They were ignoring the parts about the suffering Messiah in the Psalms or the suffering & faithful servant in Isaiah or the humble king riding on a donkey in Zechariah9.

So Jesus began with Moses – the first 5 books of the Bible and going through the Old Testament up through the prophets, he explained or translated or interpreted for them what the Scriptures had to say. In verse 27, Luke records that Jesus “interpreted to them what it said in all the Scriptures concerning him”.

Jesus shows that all of the Scriptures are about him and what he did, and would do. He is the perfect Savior. He is both divine and human. He was made like us in every way, but without sin. He lived obediently to God the Father. He suffered and he died and came back to life.

This is all important. We need a perfect substitute; fully human and sinless. We should suffer and die, but Jesus did it for us. He lived the life we should live and died the death we deserve. Because he is the Son of God and his substitutionary death was accepted, he was raised from the dead and now lives and reigns and will return to finish things off at the end (consummation).
Important principle to see in this story is all of Scripture is about Christ in some way. So all sermons should be about Jesus Christ. Christian sermons, lessons and lectures should have Christ at the center or should direct attention to Christ. All of the Scritpures points to him.

Scripture proclamation is profitable

Verse 16 says that their eyes were kept from recognizing him. These 2 on the road did not know that they were talking with Jesus. The Greek uses an passive imperfect indicative verb (to keep). Someone or something “kept” their eyes from seeing Jesus. Knowing what the Scriptures say in both Testaments, we can confidently say, God kept them from recognizing Jesus at that moment.

When they go into the house in Emmaus and sat down to dinner, Jesus breaks bread and blesses it. Then they recognized Jesus. How and why then? I don’t know. Perhaps they recognized Jesus’ style of praying and blessing the bread. But at that moment, their eyes are opened and they comprehend that it is Jesus with them. Then Jesus disappears.

These 2 say in verse 32, “did not our hearts burn within us as he talked to us on the road?”. As Jesus proclaimed Scripture to them, they heard something, which they did not fully understand. Inside of their being, they were stimulated. A fire was begun (literal in Greek: to light or to burn). Sparks were flying inside of them as they heard Jesus talk about himself in Scripture.
They heard the Scripture and something resonated. Something stirred inside of them when Jesus spoke the Scripture and explained it to them. All this while they did not “see” him.

Scripture must be proclaimed and it is good for people to hear it, whether they fully understand it or not. Jesus said on the Sermon On the Mount that “you are salt” and “you are light” speaking of and to his disciples. He said “let your light so shine before men, that they may praise God.” What is true of God’s people is even more true of his Word. God’s Word is like light – it exposes the sinfulness of man but it also reveals the lovingkindness and grace of God. God’s Word is also like salt, for with the Law, we learn what is bad behavior and this has a preservative effect on society as well as on individuals.

No matter how people respond to Scripture, we must proclaim it. What people do with what they hear in Scripture is unpredictable. But it is good for people to hear. It will stir them in positive ways, even if it convicts us of being sinners (think traitors/rebels/unfaithful ones) or even convicts one of a particular sin.

The results of Scripture proclamation depends on God

Verse 16 says their eyes were kept from recognizing. In Greek, it is a passive imperfect indicative. This was something done to them. These 2 did not have the ability to see Jesus. Seeing Jesus was kept from them.

Verse 31 says their eyes were opened. When they saw and heard Jesus bless the bread that was the moment it became clear. God opened their eyes and they recognized Jesus.

In preaching and teaching and all forms of Scripture proclamation, the results depend on God. Care should be exercised in preparing sermons, lessons and lectures. But the final result depends not on the human teacher or preacher, but upon God who opens the “eyes” of the heart (Ephesians 1:18). Jesus came alongside these 2 on the road. They expected a geo-political Messiah, which Jesus was not, in this teachable moment, Jesus opens up the Scriptures to them. He takes them through the Old Testament from Genesis to Malachi, showing them point by point what the whole picture of Messiah (Christ) was to be. He probably walked through the Levitical sacrificial system and showed them how insufficient it was. Its very inadequacies pointed to the need for a permanent fix.

We need a perfect human to be our substitute. Jesus is and was that perfect human. He lived the life we should live and died the death we deserve to die. His resurrection confirms that this is true. He was raised by God because he is righteous (without sin). He was raised by God because his sacrifice was accepted.

This good news that we can be right with God through his Son, Jesus is amazing. It must be proclaimed at every opportunity. We should proclaim the Gospel as best as we can. At the end of the day, the bottom line or final analysis shows that it is and always will be the grace of God that turns on the lights for people to see. God takes away the blindness and opens up our eyes to see Jesus, that he is what we need.

Conclusion

I hope you can see yourself as Indiana Jones or Benjamin Franklin Gates. Are you looking for answers to life? Are you looking for treasure? Do you want peace and happiness? Do wish to live forever? The answers are found in Scripture. The answer is Christ.

The answer is right in front of you. The answer is found throughout the Bible. Not everyone will see it. I pray that you can and that you will see Jesus as the One you need, the one who can set you free and give you life. May God open your eyes and see Jesus. He is the answer. Amen.

 

Thomas Smith

Oglasi